The Floor Flipper Phenomenon
This year’s increased scrutiny of committee meetings has created an interesting new creature in the House of Delegates – the “Floor Flipper.”
Floor Flippers vote for a bill in committee (often overwhelmingly), but later vote against the same bill when it arrives on the House floor.
That’s what happened last week to Del. Chuck Caputo’s HB 1876, a bill to ban teenagers from talking on their cell phones while driving. As The Washington Post noticed, 11 Republicans who voted to report the bill from the House Science and Technology committee later voted with Republican Leader Morgan Griffith to table it.
So what gives? The Post reports that Griffith denies any partisan motives, but there seems to be a trend developing:
Earlier, Del. Dave Poisson’s HB 1808 narrowly survived its second reading (five Republicans floor-flipped), only to be sent back to the Transportation committee when eight Republicans floor-flipped. It had initially passed with a 17-5 vote.
Currently, Dels. Gear, Saxman, and Hugo lead the Floor Flippers with three flips each (since they twice voted to send back HB 1808 after first supporting it in committee). Dels. Cosgrove, Rapp, Reid, Crockett-Stark, Rust, Ed Scott, Welch, and Fralin are close behind at two flips each.